Councillor Hobbs recently sent out this message about developments on the convent site:
Thank-you for writing with regard to 114 Richmond Road, the former site of the Soeurs de la Visitation.
As you may know, on March 10, city council unanimously did not support a levy to buy a portion of the site for parkland. After much public consultation I have determined that a levy is not a good option. I want to talk about where will we go from this point.
The current development site plan is unrecognizable from the original proposal that would have seen the stand of mature trees on the eastern edge cut down, the convent connected to the condo buildings and minimal open space.
Through the hard work of the planning department and with input from my office, there will be 5000 square metres of publicly accessible open space, including the preservation of the maple tree stand along the Nun’s Walk, walkways connecting Richmond Road and the Byron Linear Park, and a preserved convent building and its chapel.
By not taking parkland, the designated parkland will remain owned by the condominium, maintained at their cost but publicly accessible in perpetuity. Additionally, the city will receive approximately $1,280,000 in cash-in-lieu of parkland funds, 60% of which will be spent in Kitchissippi Ward.
Negotiations continue with Ashcroft to secure further changes to the site plan to improve public space and additional contributions toward community improvement.
Investing in our parks
With these funds, cash on hand in the ward parkland account will be over $2,000,000 and allow Kitchissippi to invest in its numerous parks across the ward. In fact, over $800,000 in projects have already been identified by Parks and Recreation from Hintonburg to McKellar Heights. In the coming weeks I will be working with my staff and the department to prioritize investments and get projects started this year. I am committed to investing in our parks each and every year – these funds allow us to accommodate our population growth with upgrades to our parks.
In addition, with the help of community associations and City staff, we have begun to identify opportunities for land to be purchased for expanding existing parks and creating new ones. By identifying these early we can facilitate their acquisition before they are purchased and rezoned for development, reducing cost to taxpayers and improving access to parkland for Kitchissippi residents.
In co-ordination with City staff and residents I am committed to working to identify opportunity sites in the Ward where green space can be secured as part of redevelopment. I encourage community associations and residents to relate to us the underdeveloped sites in the Ward they would like to see parkland created.
Working with all partners: City staff, the National Capital Commission, developers, community associations and residents, we can improve and expand parkland in Kitchissippi ward in the future in a collaborative manner for everyone’s benefit.
Councillor, Kitchissippi Ward